Remember in the summer, when it was really hot? and when we were going to win the World Cup? Well this was bang in the middle of that. It was about 1000 degrees in the shade, and England were playing Sweden. But there’s enough been written about those things. More about this day.
When I received this enquiry I was super excited, my first Jesus College wedding in Cambridge. I love Cambridge, such a beautiful city, but hadn’t spent much time at the university, so when I went to meet Ali and Garrett to have a look around Jesus College I was even more excited. An amazing venue, steeped in history, provided the perfect backdrop to a beautiful day.
Prep was fun (did I mention it was hot?), it’s always an exciting part of the day; loads of activity, loads of Prosecco and Ali looked so happy in anticipation for the day. If you’ve not been to the chapel at Jesus College, then I suggest a visit, it’s vast, but easily filled with the guests there. Garrett’s dad played the piano, Ali’s friends sang a song, it was pretty amazing.
A beautiful table arrangement held the sit down meal, followed by some brief speeches and then onto the evening part. A brilliant band really got everyone dancing and it was finished off by an impressive fireworks display.
I’ll hand over to Ali and Garrett who will tell you a bit more about themselves and their day though.
// M E E T I N G //
We met playing touch rugby! We were then friends and team mates for years before we started dating. Ali fell for Garett’s lightening sidestep and Irish charm. Garett says it was speed and beauty combined that did it for him – and nothing to do with her short shorts, of course.
// P R O P O S A L //
Garett proposed on the rugby pitch on Wandsworth Common where they first met by hiding the ring in a rugby ball and taking Ali for a walk during which they ‘happened’ to come across said ball. A crazy dog, Ali’s reluctance to touch the ball in case it was drugs, and ill-timed fireworks ensued, but she said yes! All the while, Garett’s Dad, Herbie, was in disguise, hidden in the trees beside the common keeping an eye on the ball containing the ring. What are the chances that a former colleague of his from 20 years ago should be walking past and catch him loitering in the bushes watching? That took some explaining!
// T I M I N G //
We chose July because we love sunshine! Of course you can never guarantee it in the UK, but July is a good bet. The venue we chose looks best in summer I think, and whilst winter and autumn have their charm, for us it was all about the outdoor wedding so it had to be a summer month.
// V E N U E //
The venue was always a winner rain or shine! We wanted somewhere that meant we could have the church service, reception, the wedding breakfast and the party all in the same place – plus accommodation for guests. Jesus College, Cambridge was Ali’s University College and so we were lucky enough to be allowed to marry there and even more fortunate to get one of the few dates a year they have free for weddings. It’s so stunning, with grand old buildings, big grass courtyards and a fantastic bar & dance floor that opened out into the open air. Had it rained, rooms were readily available instead, but we loved having as much as possible outdoors in the gorgeous gardens.
// T I P S //
(1) Spend money on the things you know your guests will enjoy over the stuff you think will look nice. Be that good food, ample drink, a great band or a fun surprise on the night like fireworks. On the day, their enjoyment was our enjoyment because there was such a great atmosphere as a result. Even if beforehand all that matters to you in the run up is having *that* dress or a horse-drawn carriage!
(2) Make sure you get on with your photographer & that you love their style as well as agree what you want too, because they’ll be with you all day and their work will be what you have to remember that incredible day by – not to mention document all that money spent on it!! We got lucky all round with you Barney! (NOTE from Barney – promise I didn’t add this in, they wrote it!)
(3) Give yourself headspace on the day and delegate all you can. It’s a big task to organise a wedding and it is meant to be the best day of your life, so don’t spoil it by taking on too much or keeping all the details in your brain alone. It will drive you crazy! The best thing we did was take a few days off beforehand to finalise plans & then have plenty of bridesmaids & groomsmen who picked up something each – leaving us free to just relax (ish!) and enjoy.
// F A V O U R I T E P A R T //
The ceremony. Nothing can prepare you for how nervous, excited, elated and in love you feel walking down the aisle, or waiting at the end of it. We both felt calm and happy all morning and then in the moment, we were shaking with nerves and excitement! Our ceremony was a fun, emotional and spiritual balance of Catholicism, humanism and our own take on what marriage meant to us in our readings & song choices, and it was pretty long at 45 minutes – but it still flew by! And Barney took the most incredible photos that really capture the expressions, reactions, feelings and sentiments on the day, so we will remember it always.